February 5, 2004
Labour Law Must Give Real Choice
A new poll that shows most New Zealanders believe that employers and employees should negotiate over wages and conditions is absolutely right, says the country’s largest union.
The same poll says that only 29% of respondents say the government should promote collective bargaining.
“The poll doesn’t seem to be clear whether employees negotiating with employers on the one hand and collective bargaining on the other are two separate things,” says EPMU national secretary.
“Most employees expect to negotiate with their employer. Many wish to do so through their freely chosen union because a collective process is democratic, transparent, ensures people are treated fairly and means they negotiate from strength in numbers,” says Mr Little.
“Many employees, and a growing number of employers, expect employment agreement negotiations to happen in an organised and orderly way,” he said.
“Whether they negotiate through their union or not, they are still negotiating with their employer.”
“The law needs to make sure workers’ choices of how they wish to negotiate and be represented are protected and cannot be obstructed by truculent behaviour from the employer.”
“The law changes currently going through parliament will do more to protect and preserve employees’ choices.”